1 vote

BNSF - Mosquito Creek Bridge #2


BNSF Mosquito Creek Bridge #2

Looking North

Photo taken by John Marvig in October 2018


BH Photo #437449


The bridge was rebuilt in 1949 from a 3 span through girder bridge (2-55', 1-45') to the current configuration:

1-21'9" Through Girder
1-111'6" Through Girder
1-22'2" Through Girder

It is possible that the 45' span was recycled and cut in half, or it is possible that the small spans were moved from an entirely different location. Information comes from the Milwaukee Road Archives at the Milwaukee Central Library.


Pony/through plate girder bridge over Mosquito Creek on BNSF Railway
Shelby County, Iowa
Open to traffic
Approach spans built 1913, main span added 1949
- Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
- Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (MILW)
Pony plate girder
Length of largest span: 111.0 ft.
Total length: 155.0 ft.
Also called
MILW Bridge #Z-1450
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.75556, -95.46354   (decimal degrees)
41°45'20" N, 95°27'49" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/295189/4625569 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 78377 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 8, 2022: Updated by John Marvig: added information
  • October 29, 2018: New photos from John Marvig
  • September 7, 2017: Added by Daniel Barnes


  • Daniel Barnes
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com


BNSF - Mosquito Creek Bridge #2
Posted October 31, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Being a railroad bridge engineer probably wouldnít lead to the same creativity as it did a century ago. Today, everything is built with pre cast spans. I wonder what made the railroads chose to reuse scrap spans in the 20th century. Wars? Depression? The fact they were a private business?

BNSF - Mosquito Creek Bridge #2
Posted October 31, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

It would be fun yet sometimes sad to work as a bridge engineer for a railroad.

BNSF - Mosquito Creek Bridge #2
Posted October 31, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I wonder if any additional strengthening was done to the bridge at the time of installation. It appears the main span is a 1930s or 40s span, so Iím guessing it was part of a channelization project. Don noticed something that I did not. More than likely, these approaches came from a girder of approximately 80í(like this one: http://bridgehunter.com/ia/shelby/bh78378/)

I would be curious in finding some more information on this bridge. Biggest thing I wonder is if the approaches were built from the former bridge, or if it was a spare span relocated from elsewhere. Also canít help but wonder if the middle section still exists somewhere. Railroad bridge engineers were really crafty with spare material. It really is fascinating.

BNSF - Mosquito Creek Bridge #2
Posted October 31, 2018, by Don Morrison

It sure looks like the approaches were cut from one span, but not half. The cut ends both look like they are located at a reinforced area just after an angled strut. Some length must have been cut from the middle.

BNSF - Mosquito Creek Bridge #2
Posted October 30, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

It sure looks like they did that here. They didn't even put any sort of bearing on the squared end, just plopped it on some wood. Just reusing a piece of scrap steel....

BNSF - Mosquito Creek Bridge #2
Posted October 30, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Looking at this bridge, it appears as if the approaches couldíve been built out of one span and split in half. Is this structurally possible?